When I was a little girl I loved English, grammar, and spelling. I felt very important diagramming sentences; finding the predicate, indirect objects, and adverbs. It’s funny, as an adult writing every week, sentence structure kind of goes out the window and I write like I speak - in stops and starts and run on sentences. My favorite sentences were imperative with a (you) understood as the subject. Remember those? They weren’t flowery or long, more to the point and conveying a strong command. Imperative sentences carried urgency that I found exciting.
When I moved to New York City DE LA VEGA was a famous street artist known for using a spectacular imperative sentence with a (you) understood in his artwork. Become Your Dream. He would tag it on sidewalks, on trashcans, on the sides of buildings. It was a command full of possibility. I always took it as good luck when I came across his handwriting and perhaps an accompanying little fish. The City embraced his positive grafitti and so did I.
A childhood friend from Joplin came to visit and we sought out his store in the East Village. It was a wonderland for me! He sold prints of his work, Tshirts, totebags, mugs. I gobbled up his postcards and journals. I was a dreamer then and I collected quotes like some people collect stamps. This store became a field trip destination whenever I was feeling low and needed a boost or to remember why I moved to New York in the first place. Sadly, the store closed years ago and his works appear less and less in the City. Become Your Dream has stayed with me though. But its meaning has evolved, just as my dreams have evolved, just as Lisa Adams has evolved.
Yes, dreams can be finite and clearly labeled. We can make a plan, take actionable steps, quantify results, adjust our plan for greater results and on and on. I thrive on those kinds of dreams. I am an achiever and a goal setter, an accomplisher. Become Your Dream is a mantra that keeps me on task. It’s interesting that the things I was dreaming about as that young bright- eyed and bushytailed Musical-Theatre-kid-New-Yorker are not present for me today for the most part. I am doing a jillion other things that I never even knew were possible.
I recently discovered DE LA VEGA on Facebook and started following him. What a treat to receive his drawings and quotes daily. His dreams have changed too! Now he receives commisions to decorate high-end clothing stores with his artwork, (he partnered with the designer Tory Burch on one of her collections,) and his message is finding homes that are a far cry from the sidewalks of New York.
Revisiting his work these past few weeks has really gotten me thinking about my dreams. I have added an addition to the Become Your Dream mantra. “Become Your Dream, But Stay Open.” Stay open to things happening that are not in your vision. Stay open to things working out even better than you dreamed. Stay open to the little things that might impact the big things. Stay open to your dreams completely changing.
Dreams - night dreams and day dreams, as well as lofty goal dreams - I think they are just reminders and rememories (my new favorite word, compliments of my friend Carmen!) of who we already are. Our dreams are in our DNA, they are on our fingerprints, they are our passions and greatest joys embedded into our hearts and souls. And our purpose in life, truly is to become who we are. I find that comforting. As long as my efforts get me closer to who I want to be, my dreams will find me. It’s imperative. It’s an understood (you) from the universe.
As I work on my dreams for the last quarter of the year, I will be busy in my kitchen dreaming up apple recipes! My latest creation is the perfect dish to usher in Autumn. Date syrup was my culinary souvenir from my Israel trip this Summer and I am finding ways to sneak it into everything. Feel free to use honey or molasses if you can’t find it. If you live in New York City it is available at Kalustyan’s and they also ship products for non New Yorkers. Labne (Middle Eastern yogurt cheese) has pretty much replaced all yogurt in my recipes as well. Savory or sweet, it compliments everything! Feel free to use Greek yogurt or even sour cream.
Baked Apples with Sweet Labne
5 apples, peeled and cored
1 lemon, halved
1 cup turbinado sugar or white granulated sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granola or muesli
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup hard cider
2 cups labne, yogurt, or sour cream
6 tablespoons date syrup, molasses, or honey
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degreesF and prepare a pie dish with non stick spray. Combine the raw sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon halves over the apples and roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture until fully coated. Place them in the pie dish and bake for 20 minutes.
2. While the apples are baking, mix the granola or muesli with the butter and any remaining sugar and cinnamon. Remove the apples from the oven and pour the hard cider inside and around the apples. Fill the apples with the granola mixture, piling it on once the apples appear full. Return the dish to the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes.
3. Combine the labne and date syrup and scoop into 5 individual dessert dishes. Once the apples are finsihed baking, place an apple into each dish on top of the yogurt. Pour the remaing caramel buttery cider syrup from the dish onto the apples.